California students: you will need your closed-toe flip-flops if you come to Ohio State. It snows. For several months of the year.
However, in exchange for your sacrifice, you get to study at a research university with 38,000 undergraduate students in a city with the second highest concentration of college students in the nation. You will have the unique experience of being able to yell “O-H” pretty much anywhere in the world and having at least someone respond “I-O!”
“If you want a big school with a lot of school spirit,” said students to whom I spoke “you can’t beat Ohio State.” Because it’s so large, there are 150 majors, 450 minors and 12,000 courses taught per year. Despite the size, the first year experience program gives students the opportunity to hear from all of the colleges and learn in small seminars with professors. Ohio State has a nationally recognized first year experience program. The freshman retention rate is 92%, which is high for a university of this size. Over a thousand student organizations give students the opportunity to get involved and lead their peer groups. About 8-9% of students join a fraternity or sorority.
73% of classes have fewer than 30 students; about 12% of classes have over 100 students. My tour guide, a graduating senior, said it had been two years since she had had a class with over 100 students. She also changed her major twice and will still graduate on time.
A student from Anaheim on a panel I saw said that her experience at Ohio State sharply contrasted with her friends’ experience at California’s public universities (UC and Cal State). Ohio State has recently completed the Ohio Union, the ‘living room’ of the campus, and expanded the student recreational center, which has over 1000 pieces of cardio equipment. New dorms and lab facilities are under construction.
The admissions office proudly told my group of counselors that Newsweek had just rated Ohio State the ‘most obnoxious’ in terms of school spirit. Support for the Buckeyes sports teams is omnipresent here – the football stadium, dubbed ‘The Horseshoe,’ is filled with 105,000 screaming fans every Saturday during football season. This really is a school where you can expect to paint half of your face red to cheer at a game at some point!
If numbers and rankings are important to you, Ohio State is ranked #56 by US News and World Report’s list of National Universities, and it has 6 million volumes in its library, twice as many as UC San Diego. The main quad, called The Oval, is 11 acres of green space. Academically, Ohio State offers a quality educational experience. Columbus offers has many corporate headquarters and even more Ohio State alumni ready to offer jobs and internships to students. It’s a place where students are treated as adults and expected to be engaged in their education.